Icon Las Olas Cleared to Begin Construction, but Now the Question Is Why

Categories: Broward News
Icon Brickell.jpg
Icon Brickell was Jorge Perez's flagship project -- until he lost it to the bank.


It has been 13 years since Jorge Perez's Related Group bought the popular Hyde Park Market on Las Olas. Perez then took a wrecking ball to it with plans to put up the city's tallest building -- a 42-story behemoth condo tower. But those ambitious plans hit a major snag: Lots of people hated Perez's plans.

Critics didn't want the project -- named the immodest Icon Las Olas -- towering over Broward County's most historic building. The Stranahan house sits next door, a two-story Cracker-style building built by one of South Florida's early development pioneers.

Last week, however, an appeals court dismissed the last legal challenge to the project, and Perez can now begin bringing in the construction cranes.

But now the question has to be asked: Are they crazy?

Adding 42 stories of condos to the Fort Lauderdale market may have seemed
genius 13 years ago, but the bubble that burst over the past five years now makes that idea seem like perhaps the city's next boondoggle.

Consider too that Perez hasn't exactly seen much success in recent years. He lost his flagship project, the 1,800-unit Icon Brickell, to a "friendly foreclosure" last year. Perez also lost Trump Hollywood to a foreclosure.

In a series of articles about Perez last week, the Wall Street Journal brought up a fine point: "The persistent, unanswered question, of course, is where all the money to build out the next wave of new condos is going to come from."

Meanwhile, there were 124,341 vacant homes in Broward County last year, up 44 percent from a decade ago. Adding 42 floors of condos downtown will certainly add a few more.

So while Perez has been approved to build his new towering monument to development, the question has to be asked: Why would he?


Follow The Daily Pulp on Twitter: @TheDailyPulp. Follow Eric Barton on Twitter: @ericbarton.

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25 comments
Wordsmithy
Wordsmithy

Inasmuch as Perez's best friend, role model and business partner is one Jeb Bush, there should be plenty of Saudi money available to build it, even bin Laden money. Bought any gasoline lately? Want to bet Perez hasn't paid any income tax in years? Sure can't wait for Jeb to run for president so we can see his tax returns -- and his wife's rap sheet.

Guest
Guest

Could this be a hollow victory and pehaps because of it, he can sell the property now.To foreign investors? I have a feeling those towers will not go up.

Dr_augusta
Dr_augusta

Eric, in response to your comment from the other post...it's easy actually and can be described in 3 words...LocalInvestigative Reporting 

Huckster
Huckster

It's his property let him do what he wants to do with it.  Who were these bureaucrats that said he couldn't?  they are the ones that need to be fired.  Im sorry you can't fire pubic employees maybe we can give them a raise instead. 

Guest
Guest

I am one, among many, of the area residents who many years ago voted for a nice park to be built at the Hyde Park location. What a rude awakening when realization comes that our votes are meaningless. Have those monsterous condo towers looming over Las Olas(No doubt empty, expect perhaps by foreign investors) can ony be as you say "White Elephants". I'm not optimistic for their future, but who am I my vote doesn't count!

SoFla Distortion
SoFla Distortion

Anyone who finances this should have their head examined

Christy
Christy

 1st,  like the local stories.  keep em coming.

B_tan
B_tan

 This gap in our lives that we feel since Bob left the blog...  Could this be what Oprah's gazillion followers are feeling with the closing of her show later this month? 

Huckster
Huckster

The real question douchebaggot is why foreign investors can buy it and not us.Answer; Because we gave the country away protecting the world, and we all bought foreign cars, and the government decided that it knew more about business than the businesses and we taxed everyone to death. 

Huckster
Huckster

you are a communist agitator.STFU 

Guest
Guest

P.S. Eric...I like your writing style 

Virgil Starkwell
Virgil Starkwell

I love Bob as much as anyone else here, but respectfully, I think you people need to get over it already. And if you are expecting his specific brand of journalism to continue, aka local muckraking, it certainly will, but not at the level of Bob's accomplishments. Keep in mind that he built up his sources over many years.

It's like when the Dolphins lost Dan Marino. No, it hasn't been the same, but we've all moved on.  

Give these kids a chance.

I think they are great, and quite frankly, I would rather read about national issues--with a progressive slant--than constantly reading about some corrupt, local politicians.

After a while, the story is the same. Only the names of the characters change.

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

Well, if it makes you feel better, I promise to never run a Pulp book club.

Patti Lynn
Patti Lynn

 Are you related to Parkland Man???  You have a similar style.

Guest
Guest

You certainly are showing your class and intelligence...NOT!  By you just nowakinga commentlike thatshows to all youare nottobe taken seriously..lowlife

Guest
Guest

That's right I'm a Communist agitator...go down to your air raid shelter..because we're coming to get you. 

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

Well said, Virgil. I was talking to Brandon about this very subject on Sunday and he mentioned the fact that whenever he went out for a beer with Bob, there was rarely a few minutes that passed without Bob getting a phone call from a tipster.

In other words, it's impossible to go replace a guy like Bob, but what we're going to do here is try to continue what he built -- a blog that broke stories and told them better than anyone else.

Model Citizen
Model Citizen

Hey, "Huckster" down below: I take a stand all of the time and do it under my established moniker.  You, fraudster, use a different name every 10 minutes.  You're nothing.  Nobody.  You have no identity.  You live in fear and you're passive-aggressive.  There are treatments for your condition.  Seek help.

IrvingFeiner
IrvingFeiner

I dont know if its that easy Virgil, I'm still trying to get over Dan Marino leaving the Pitt Panthers. 

Huckster
Huckster

Virgil, Model C, Glitters, and Christy are all Socialists and always try to agitate without coming out and taking a stand.  They use words like Progressive.  When you write about local issues of corruption they can't propagandize.  I agree with Dr. stay local. 

Dr_augusta
Dr_augusta

Thankfully Virgil doesn't speak for all of us. 

Guest
Guest

Good one Eric! 

Christy
Christy

I've notified  the Navy Seals Elite  "Team 6"

The Pulp Blog
The Pulp Blog

Thanks, guys, I appreciate the feedback. I'll be writing regularly this week in preparation for a new blogger starting next Monday. Matt Hendley will be our regular contributor. The staff writers and I will still contribute regularly, but I think you'll dig Matt's stuff too. I know some of you wonder if we just rolled out New Coke here on the Pulp, but we're committed to putting out damn good content every day. Cheers.

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